Knowledge Management

The Future Of Knowledge Management: Trends For 2021

In a survey conducted by Deloitte, 75% of the organizations say that creating and preserving knowledge across evolving workforces is important or very important for their success. However, only 9% say they are ready to address this trend and 55 percent of enterprise data goes unused.

Businesses depend on a reliable knowledge management system for smooth information sharing and internal operations.

But what is knowledge management in the first place? Simply put, knowledge management deals with the capturing, storage, structuring and dissemination of information within an organization. Knowledge lies in your business files, documents, guides, databases, reports and also resides in the minds of your employees.

In a rapidly evolving business landscape where taking full advantage of information is key to staying competitive, leaders must allow knowledge to flow dynamically and seamlessly across all functions and departments within the organization.

However, the biggest challenge in knowledge management is the amount of unstructured data generated every day that gets locked away in siloed applications. That is where the role of emerging AI technologies, including natural language processing and natural language generation, comes into being.

These technologies can tag and organize information across disparate platforms, thus overcoming the significant barriers to harnessing knowledge created within organizations.

To understand this better, let’s have an in-depth look at the obstacles and the emerging trends in knowledge management.

Current Challenges in Knowledge Management

Organizations face a plethora of challenges, which have given rise to the need for a well-rounded knowledge management system. These include –

  • A mounting amount of unstructured data which gets unused
  • Increasing difficulty in organizing and analyzing such data
  • The lack of mature technological systems that can extract and distribute valuable information from unstructured content
  • Data becoming increasingly disparate and stored in siloed systems

Let’s have a glance at the future trends in knowledge management that will help navigate the above roadblocks.

Emerging Trends: Knowledge Management in 2021 and Beyond

1. Improving Information Discovery With Knowledge Mining and AI

Over 80% of enterprise content is unstructured. Unlike in the case of structured data formats, analyzing and extracting useful information from unstructured data like memos, emails, text documents, videos, etc. is a mammoth task. And this data holds immense business value.

Knowledge mining is an emerging AI-driven concept which includes using a combination of intelligent services to easily explore this data, uncover hidden insights and find relationships at scale. This enables knowledge workers to seamlessly access unstructured data and make better business decisions.

Knowledge mining includes three phases:

  • Ingest: Knowledge exists in both structured and unstructured formats in a variety of legacy and modern enterprise systems. With knowledge mining tools, you can use pre-built connectors and integrations to connect first and third-party applications and bring your data together.
  • Enrich: The data that has been captured in phase 1 needs to be analyzed, enriched with the right metadata, and classified with the right tags. This is where AI technologies like machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) can be used to automate manual tasks like metadata generation, tagging, classification and taxonomy usage. Data enrichment ensures that your data becomes discoverable via search. 
  • Explore: Organizations are replacing their traditional enterprise search tools with cognitive enterprise search engines which leverage AI and NLP to deliver highly relevant search results. These advanced search tools connect all your internal and external enterprise apps together and act as a unified search engine to provide access to relevant org-wide knowledge. 

2. Faster Access To Knowledge With Knowledge Bots

A knowledge bot can be designed to provide information related to any topic relevant to knowledge workers. For instance, a knowledge bot can answer questions like “Who is the marketing manager for New York?” or “How to update my operating system” or “What is Brett Shaw’s email ID?”. Employees can also use the bot to retrieve documents from the knowledge management system e.g “Get me the sales report for 2017” or “Send me the project A’s status report” etc. Employees can conduct natural language conversations with a chatbot or voice bot and access information seamlessly via text or voice mediums. These bots will be available as  personal assistants within your intranet and also in your messaging applications like Teams, Skype For Business, Skype etc.

3. Personalized Search Experiences

As discussed previously, cognitive enterprise search is an important tool for modern knowledge management systems and key to deliver personalized search experiences.

For example, a quick search on the “Rebranding Directors” of the company should not only yield information about the relevant people in the company but also personalize the results based on the users’ profile i.e location, geography, interests, job role etc. In addition, the search should also cater to the language needs of employees across the globe.

3. Seamless collaboration

Flexible and diverse tools that enable hassle-free collaboration will be an indispensable part of all intranet packages.

As traditional working models like Gantt Charts take a backseat, tools like task management spaces, cases, wiki pages and forums, which support unhindered collaboration and communication will become important in a remote working environment. 

4. The Rise Of Mobile Technology

Modern employees prefer convenience and accessibility over everything else. Hence, a significant knowledge management trend that is likely to emerge is better compatibility of intranet and knowledge management tools with the mobile interface.

The aim is to have all the necessary tools at the employees’ fingertips, no matter where they are working from.

4. All Tools On A Single Platform

Employees need to juggle between applications, programs, and tools outside the knowledge management system for a variety of activities including managing projects, communicating, creating content etc. An intranet software can bring all the workplace apps and the knowledge management system together under an integrated digital workplace suite. This eliminates the need for employees to log into and switch different applications.  

6. Cloud-based Platform

The Software as a Service model is seeping into the digital workplace world. More and more intranets with knowledge management systems are now being offered as an Intranet-as-a-Service model. This is an attractive option for companies who want flexibility and a cloud-based monthly subscription model instead of a large investment upfront. The increased need to access information anytime and anywhere is also a key driver for this trend.

7. Friendly User-Interface

A well-designed user interface (UI) will help employees to navigate quickly and leverage the knowledge management system properly.

What the staff sees on the screen directly affects how quickly they adapt to the system. Therefore, an attractive, compact, and customizable interface shall form the backbone of an efficient knowledge management system.

Get Started

Knowledge is power, one which when harnessed well provides organizations with the ability to innovate and stay relevant in the ever-changing business environment.

A modern knowledge management system leverages AI technologies to capture, organize, and share business information conveniently. 

So here is a quick recap of the top emerging trends in knowledge management for 2021:

  • Emergence of AI in knowledge mining and discovery
  • Usage of cognitive enterprise search for personalized search tools
  • Increased presence of tools for seamless communication and collaboration
  • Rapid rise of mobile technology
  • Adoption of a centralized, user-friendly platform for all digital workplace tools   

And, as you gear up to take advantage of these emerging trends, you might be interested in Mesh 3.0, Acuvate’s Employee Experience Platform that provides a modern knowledge management system with powerful knowledge mining tools powered by Microsoft Azure. Mesh’s digital workplace tools help you manage your organization’s knowledge better and reduce the time for employees to find information.